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How Does Age Affect Personal & Social Reactions to COVID-19?

by Niamh O'Donovan
November 10, 2021

So today we hear from our 40-something; me! @niamhodonovan on this topic: as Ireland opens up more and COVID restrictions are lifted we reflect how the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the lives of us all, including the Enterprise Solutions’ team. And as a result, personal, business and social behaviours may have been affected; we chat with 5 staff members about this. As our team has members in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s & 60s let’s see what someone from each decade has to say.  Of course, we know that this one person will not represent their age group, they are simply representing themselves!

When I reflect on the last 18 months a string of words run through my mind: hand sanitizer, social distancing, quarantine, toilet paper, walk, supermarket queues, see-saw, vaccine, cases, online quiz, frontline workers, mask, WHO, symptoms, positive, zoom, 2M, restricted movement & furlough … I think I could keep going!

I think I was a well-behaved victim of COVID but I was keen to try things as soon as I was allowed, I went to Howth (furthest point within my county) as soon as the 5KM rule was lifted, I drank outdoor pints in car-parks and I travelled abroad when quarantining was required on returning home. But the vulnerable people in my life were my priority, I didn’t put them at risk EVER and I played my part for the greater good. I was also very naive, I did not understand, or believe, how long this could last; did any of us? In March 2020, I truly thought schools would be open again after Easter.

I think if the schools had been open more everything else would have been more tolerable. I think one of my lowest points was when I received an email to tell me my son had missed 13 of the last 20 lesson – they only had 6 a day! How could that happen when we were all in the house?? I had printed the timetables every Sunday evening I got everyone out of bed every morning. But I know how, I went to work, in my newly converted box-bedroom, and assumed the students or the teachers were looking after things. But we sorted that easily, the Xbox became a door stop for a week or so and home-schooling attendance resumed.

I have some funny memories too. Myself and my close friends missed a trip to Spain due to COVID so we had a BOOM night (Booze On Zoom … we were going to have Drinks on Zoom but that was depressing) and the night was such fun. One kind friend delivered a hamper of Spanish goodies to each and another arrived on camera with a sunhat and had ‘lookey-lookey’ goods for sale; handbags, wallets and wraps all around 😊.

What would we have done without Zoom (or Teams)? I joined social nights, quizzes, wine tasting, family meetings, coffee mornings and so much more. And we managed to include friends from abroad who we had not seen in years (that is one thing I’m going to keep). We even had our family Christmas gift exchange on Zoom. Presents were dropped on doorsteps and into car boots to ensure everyone had something to unwrap ‘live’ on Christmas morning. As Irish people, and humans, craving contact live video was a life saver.

For work video calls filled my day too; customer meetings, presentations, webinars, team-huddles, company social evenings all became virtual, and they worked. Or did they? I think to a point they most definitely did, but the casual conversation that I would have previously had as I strolled from reception, was gone & missed. And it was not exactly business as usual. Even though Enterprise Solutions could provide the exact same service and deliver the same projects during the pandemic, there was a reluctance in the market to proceed, to make decisions or to allocate budgets so we felt this in the volume of business won in 2021. 2020 was busy but because of panicked WFH and remote access solutions. All in all, reactive but not strategic spend seemed to have occurred. But we were lucky to be working every day as so many were not. And the country and economy as a whole will take some time to recover but I am confident that it will.

Now if I had been in charge, what would I have done differently? I think closing the borders sooner is agreed by all and allowing outdoor meetings sooner would have been OK, in my opinion. But I am glad I was not the one making the decisions.

That list of words continues in my head; WFH, mental wellbeing, contact tracing, Netflix, fan abhaile, antigen etc etc.

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